Letters to the Editor

Plagiarism an issue in the classroom too

I read Editor in Chief Jake Sherman’s column about a plagiarized column in a recent issue of The Hatchet (Oct. 4, p. A4). It’s distressing that one of your reporters would resort to plagiarism, but your readers need to know that unfortunately plagiarism is also alive and well in the GW classroom. Each year about 100 cases of plagiarism are reported to the Academic Integrity Office and result in a finding that students have violated the GW Code of Academic Integrity. Such cases permanently stain a student’s record and psyche not to mention any resultant academic sanction. Students may receive a zero on assignment, fail the entire course or even get suspended. Plagiarism is our most common form of cheating comprising three of every four cases at GW.

I think you are correct that the Internet facilitates plagiarism and serves as a temptation for those that would cheat. Students and your suspended reporter are well-advised to do the work themselves; the risk of getting caught is too high and simply not worth it. In addition, our faculty, like The Hatchet editors, takes its time and makes the effort to ensure writing samples are free of any hint of plagiarism.

My sense about plagiarism and academic dishonesty at GW is that our students are too good and too bright to need to resort to such dishonest and deceptive behavior. Students should not let laziness, sloppiness or procrastination put them in a position where they might succumb to the temptation of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty.

As for the erstwhile reporter of the “Under the Covers” column, perhaps he would have been better off using fantasy and imagination as his source which, as well all know, can be much more exciting and creative than the reality of another.

Timothy C. Terpstra, Director, Office of University Students and Academic Integrity

Embrace the return of Colonials Invasion

When I picked up a copy of last Monday’s Hatchet and saw that rapper Fabolous (Oct. 1, p. A1) would be gracing the GW community with his presence at Colonials Invasion, at least one of my roommates yelled loudly enough for everyone on our floor to hear. So when a column by Ross Romano (Oct. 4, p. B6) surfaced in Thursday’s issue suggesting that the decision to have the entertainer was a poor one, my anger made it difficult for me to get through the entire article.

While his ideas for where the money could be allocated were in good spirits, criticizing the University for trying to bring some college basketball excitement to Foggy Bottom was simply uncalled for. As sophomores, we have yet to experience Colonials Invasion after last year’s pathetic excuse for a pep rally. The writer complains about GW’s quasi-Midnight Madness event, so why not make it even bigger by bringing in a major attraction? Let’s face it, GW is not a basketball-obsessed school, and just having the teams mess around with the ball is not enough to fill Smith Center for a preseason pep rally.

However, in direct contrast to what the writer claims, students who are uninterested in sports may in fact attend the event because of Fabolous’ performance. Romano also uses a quote from Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz to imply that the event has become “an entertainment piece” rather than “a basketball thing.” The truth of the matter is that it has never been about the basketball, and not just at GW. Midnight Madness events across the country feature high-flying dunks and fancy moves to get fans excited; students are not there to watch their team run a flex offense. As for the cost of the event, Fall Fest and Spring Fling produce poor attendance year after year due to the lack of spending on entertainers, and year after year there is an article in The Hatchet complaining that Program Board once again dropped the ball. Now, the school finally decides to go out and make amends (somewhat) for the price of tuition by hiring a recognizable performer (even my mom knows who Fabolous is), and this is the response?

Of course the money for the event could be going elsewhere, but that could be said about any event that the school puts on. In actuality, the cost of this event would not even be enough to renovate a quarter of a locker room at Smith Center. I’m not sure what the writer thinks goes on at other universities, but private donors fund athletic programs just about everywhere. The bottom line is that I am glad to see that the University is doing everything it can to get students to come out and support the basketball team. The only conclusion I can reach is that the writer of the article opposes fun. I, on the other hand, cannot wait for this year’s Colonials Invasion.

Joey Appley-Epstein, Sophomore

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